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TV guide: 12 of the best new shows to watch, beginning Sunday night

From Liz Bonnin’s Caribbean adventure to the true story of an Irish serial killer in London

Liz Bonnin’s Wild Caribbean

Sunday, BBC2, 9pm

Scientist and presenter Liz Bonnin’s new series brings her to one of the most diverse and beautiful places on the planet, on a mission to discover the hidden natural treasures of the Caribbean and help save endangered species along the way. In this first of four parts, Bonnin lands in the Greater Antilles, where she encounters huge crocodiles, and goes on a search for an elusive creature called a solenodon (like a big shrew with a trunk), which somehow managed to survive the mass extinction of dinosaurs.

Burden of Proof: Who Killed Jennifer Pandos?

Sunday, Sky Documentaries & Now, 9pm

In 1987, 15-year-old Jennifer Pandos went missing from her home in Williamsburg, Virginia, and this four-part docuseries details her brother Stephen’s decades-long quest to learn the truth about what happened to her. Their parents, Margie and Ron, put out the story that Jennifer had run away, but Stephen soon became convinced they were lying, and that Ron – a war veteran with PTSD and a violent temper – had killed Jennifer and covered up the crime. But as the story unfolds, and new details emerge, suddenly things don’t seem so cut and dried.

Nationwide Big Houses of Ireland

Monday, RTÉ1, 7pm

This new Nationwide series explores the storied history of Ireland’s big houses, formerly symbols of the country’s colonisation, but many of them now beacons of Ireland’s prosperity, becoming luxury hotels or golf resorts. Donal Byrne looks at the lives of those who lived and worked in the big houses, and learns of the fate of some of the houses, with about 300 of them burned down during the War of Independence, including the childhood home of the writer Molly Keane.

The Nobody Zone: Interview with an Irish Serial Killer

Monday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

In 1983, homeless Irish man Kieran Kelly was arrested in London on a minor theft charge. To the police officers’ astonishment, Kelly confessed to a string of violent murders that he claimed to have carried out over the previous 30 years. The entire interview was captured on tape, and in this docudrama, based on the award-winning podcast, actor Ned Dennehy takes the part of Kelly, lip-synching to Kelly’s original voice as he described his modus operandi – targeting victims on the London Underground and then slipping away among the rush-hour crowds.


Blue Lights

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

Three rookie cops join the police force of Northern Ireland, and have to navigate dangerous gangs and divided communities. Can they handle the pressure? This series, written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, stars Sian Brook as fortysomething mum Grace, Katherine Devlin and Nathan Braniff as the new recruits, and Richard Dormer as a training officer. The series first aired in March on the BBC, and was enough of a hit with viewers that a second series is in production.

Louis Theroux Interviews

Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm

Telly’s boundary-breaking interviewer squares up with world champion heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua – and you wouldn’t be sure who’ll end up on the canvas begging for mercy. In the first episode of his new series, Theroux spends time with Joshua at the housing estate in Watford where he grew up, and in the boxing gym in north London where he started his rise to the pinnacle of the sport. Joshua will look back on a career marked by huge success – and a few humbling defeats. This second series will also see Theroux get up close and immersive with Joan Collins, Pete Doherty and Chelsea Manning.

Paddy Devlin – Gunnadóir na Gaillimhe

Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

During the second World War, nearly 70,000 Irish men joined the British army in the fight against Hitler’s Nazis, despite the tensions between Ireland and Britain, and despite Irish neutrality. Elayne Devlin’s uncle Paddy was one of those men, and in this documentary Devlin explores the reasons why Paddy ignored opprobrium at home to serve as one of the British army’s top snipers. Paddy fought on D-Day and was wounded in Germany, but while many Irish people became war heroes, they faced a cold reception when they returned home.

Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius

Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm

It’s 400 years since the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, a 17th-century greatest-hits package published seven years after his death, and this three-part docuseries charts his rise from humble beginnings in the literary outback of Stratford to finding fame with plays about star-crossed lovers, murderous married couples and existential princes. The format sounds tantalising: cinematic dramatisations of the time (perilous, plague-ridden) blended with contributions from the likes of Judi Dench, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, Martin Freeman and Jessie Buckley. The series promises to give new insights into the Shakespeare story, and is narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

Anam: Songs for Hearts and Minds

Thursday, RTÉ2, 11.05pm

Here’s an interesting pairing: Other Voices have joined forces with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to bring us this special programme featuring musical performances in some of Ireland’s most stunning historical landmarks, blending sound and vision to breathtaking effect. It’s a sort of musical Irish travelogue, taking us on magical journey in the company of some of our finest musicians – and the backdrop is already provided. In this second episode, Ye Vagabonds do a gig on the Blasket Islands, and there are also live performances from Cormac Begley, Gerry O’Beirne, Sam Amidon and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Billy Mac Fhlionn.


Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

The ladies of Kingston upon Hull are back for a second bit of the comedy cherry, in the acclaimed comedy series set in the east Yorkshire town. Series one, as we all know, ended on a bombshell, with news of not one, but two pregnancies, so there’s plenty of issues to be processed by Toni (Leah Brotherhead), Paula (Sinead Matthews) and Rana (Taj Atwal) as they navigate the tricky terrain of sex, marriage, parenthood and menopause. Episodes one and two are being shown back to back, so get the Prosecco in and get ready to laugh like a drain.


Friday, BBC1, 8.30pm

The fifth series of Ghosts reaches its finale, and fans of this spooktastic comedy are worried it might be the last-ever visit to Button House. But fear not – there will be a Christmas special, we’re promised. Meanwhile, Alison (Charlotte Richie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) face a tough decision as they prepare for the arrival of their baby: should they accept the offer from the property developers to turn Button House into a luxury resort and say goodbye to the ghosts forever? When a shocking secret is revealed, it throws everyone – living and dead – for a loop.

Mrs Brown’s Boys – Mammy’s Miracle

Friday, BBC1, 9.30pm

In case you missed it back in 2011 (shame on you!), here’s another chance to see the first season finale of Brendan O’Carroll’s megahit comedy, in which Agnes is dealing with a crisis of faith – not her own, but Fer Quinn’s, as he begins to question his vocation amid plummeting attendance at Mass. Meanwhile, Grandad had decided he doesn’t want to miss his own funeral, so he stages a fake wake just so he can hear all the eulogies that will surely come his way. But when it becomes clear the mourners have nothing nice to say about him. Agnes will have to come up with miracle – pronto.